Here we are, the reveal of the master bath of the mountain house (check out the bedroom if you missed yesterday’s reveal!). This bathroom is an actual fantasy and the fact that it’s ours is still insane to me. When people walk in, their reaction is “omg. stop it.” It’s been six months since it was finished and three months since we shot so at the end, I’ll let you know how things are wearing and any extra “learnings” because guys, THERE ARE ALWAYS LEARNINGS.
But first, this lady wasn’t always so pretty.
As you can see from the floorplan below, there was also a powder bathroom (that was attached to the then-upstairs-common-room now-master-bedroom), which was demoed out:
To create a luxury and smart bathroom, for ultimate relaxation. Our bathroom in LA is cute, but there wasn’t room for a tub and I forgot that I actually love a bath. So since we had the space here, I really promised myself to try to make it one that I would enjoy, of course not knowing that it doesn’t matter who you design a room for, unless you have strict rules YOUR YOUNG KIDS WILL BE OBSESSED WITH THE MICRO BUBBLE BATH, and then yes, take it over (and that’s okay).
Ironically, when you completely demo/change all walls, fixtures, windows and finishes, you can really start new and in a way it reduces a lot of the original “challenges” of the dated bathroom. But here is a list of the awkwardness:
- The jacuzzi tub took up all of the bathroom and there was no shower, but we loved that the tub was in the window.
- The windows were low, the ceilings were low, the vanity was small, not to mention it opened to the old “master” that is now the kids’ room.
- There was a small CARPETED powder room with a strangely placed vanity that left lots of awkward space behind it on the other side of this space for a common area upstairs (now that master bedroom like I mentioned).
Here is a zoomed in original floorplan (though I actually think the toilet is wrong here…it was against the window parallel to the tub):
And what we proposed as the final plan where we sole from the powder bath as well as the kid’s room (which used to be the master):
For placement, here’s the final floor plan of the upstairs so you can see where we are in the house:
The original moodboard (shared here in the original I Design, You Decide) has changed, as all design does from the beginning, which I think is crucial to understand—don’t stick to a plan simply because it is “the plan” if you find it no longer works or pleases you.
Here’s where it all landed:
Oh man. I want to GO BACK RIGHT NOW—not in time, literally go back to the house and get in that tub.
First, let’s talk layout:
The shower is at the front (just across from the entry door), then because we wanted to work with the symmetry of the windows, we put the 60″ Kohler vanity on the opposite side of the tub that sat in the middle, with the toilet/water closet on the other side of that wall. Yes, we thought about putting a door on the toilet room, but for code, it would have needed to bump the wall out and have more room between the toilet and door, and that would mess up the symmetry and make it look a lot smaller so we decided against it.
The Wood Ceiling:
Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber clad the ceiling with the same beech that’s in the whole house and I can NOT believe how good of a job they did with all those crazy angles. I can’t stress this enough: if you are doing a big renovation, consider grabbing any ceiling height from attic space. Look at your roofline to see if you have enough to make it worth it. It can be a substantial cost, with demo, redoing any electrical and ducting, then cladding, but that obviously makes a huge difference.
Mixing lighting in a room can be hard, but I LOVE the combo of the vanity sconce (by Katy Skelton) with the Allied Maker chandelier (and the toilet sconce—from The Urban Electric Co.—which you can’t see here). We wanted something that lit the ceiling, while still casting nice light down. It’s streamlined and yet still a round shape that we needed. We also have cans in there because since it’s a bathroom, it needs the option for bright lighting.
We ended up not doing the pebble tile (yes, even though you voted yes) because Brian actually stayed in a bathroom that had it and he didn’t like it at all underfoot. But we wanted to stay dark as that was the original plan so we chose this classic slate tile from Clé (that has a total mountain vibe) to ground it. We chose a dark grout that STILL lightens up too much, and I wish we had gone with something even blacker so you don’t see the seams. It actually shows up way more in photos than in real life.
We made all the windows bigger and prettier (using the same Marvin white oak frames), and our architect had the smart idea to make the middle window oversized, even though it goes lower than the tub. We love how it looks. It’s a picture window, while the other two use a crank to open. We put motorized shades by Hunter Douglas from Decorview on them for privacy and they are so lovely.
The 60″ floating vanity gives it a custom and high-end look that I love (yet it was readymade from Kohler so it cost less than something custom would). I wanted to give it some architectural interest so I designed it with the Volaskas marble slab (sourced from Bedrosians Tile & Stone) extended from the countertop up into a backsplash with a 3-inch ledge that bumps out from the wall. At first, I was SUPER into the idea, then after it was done (but before all the materials went in) I was like “why did I do that?” but now that it’s totally done, I really like the subtle detail that looks more custom and adds depth. Plus yes, it does provide a place to put everyday product if I wanted.
We used the Purist wall-mount faucets from Kohler in vibrant polished brass from their Finish to Order program. They are extremely gorgeous, with the undermount sink making it feel really clean. Big fan of that “wall mount/undermount sink” combo in general and will continue to use if it works for a modern house.
Our plumber did, however, put the faucet plumbing too low, i.e. not centered vertically on the backsplash, and at this point, due to the fact that the sink plumbing and vanity were already installed, we couldn’t really move the vanity down (plus the holes were already drilled in the marble). My team caught this on a site visit and called me, so nervous that I was going to be bummed because I think we realized it was somehow our fault with our dimensions, but it’s SO not a big deal. Would I rather them be 2″ higher? Sure, but that might splash more anyway. They were worried that Brian wouldn’t have the space to put his head under the faucet, which I think is quite possibly the sweetest (and totally weirdest) concern from a designer.
The sconce by Katy Skelton is FANTASTIC, and while the brass doesn’t match the faucets (which we had ordered months prior) we don’t totally care, but yes ideally they would. The mirror was custom made by a local fabricator, which I believe cost around $800, but we wanted a very specific size and shape that was proving difficult to find.
The toilet room was kept really simple with the same tile as on the backsplash of the vanity, which is SO simple and pretty (from Clé—it’s their new terra-cotta line). We stacked it vertically, after much debate. Remember this “to stack or stagger” post?
HOT TIP: it’s more modern to have the smallest grout line as possible so we asked for the spacing of the tile to be the closest possible. Tile installers don’t generally love doing this because they have to be more accurate and can’t use the spacers they typically like, but I think it looks less busy which is prettier.
I partnered with Kohler on this bathroom, with the intent that it would be a smart bathroom and this toilet is one of the most fun parts. I wrote all about the product here in our intro post, but trust me it’s fun. A fancy toilet is certainly a luxury and not necessary, but when you walk up, it opens, it’s warm and it flushes without you doing anything. So if that is a luxury that you are into and works with your budget then know that I love this one.
I’m also a huge fan of that Urban Electric Co. lantern sconce—pulling the black and gold throughout but giving it a slight cabin feel.
There is the other side of the room which shows you more of how it’s laid out (and where our shower is). The black DTV+ digital interface panel (which controls the shower temperature and features like the steam, rain bath, and tile body sprays) sits above the Forbes & Lomax light switches, which is above the nVent Nuheat radiant heating underneath. I wish those remotes stacked for sure, but it’s not a huge deal.
When people see the shower, they freak out, and it is awesome, but there is where I would have done some things differently (not necessarily stylistically but functionally).
- I didn’t know the CA water regulations when I ordered those beautiful body sprays. You can’t turn on more than two legally due to water restrictions, and you can’t have any fixtures (overhead, real rain, steam OR body spray) on at the same time. They are so pretty and if you could have all six on at the same time, you’d get a pretty incredible hydro-massage, but definitely check your state regulations before you order them. Just having one on does not keep you warm enough.
- Stylistically there was no need to switch up the tile here, and I could have done the same as the vanity backsplash and toilet room. Again, I LOVE this tile—it’s from Artistic Tile and is a herringbone Thassos marble that has so much movement and reflects the light in such a beautiful quiet way, but it was incredibly labor-intensive (i.e. expensive) to install in THIS bathroom due to all the angles of the ceiling and the nooks and all the plumbing fixtures. My contractor thinks it took about a month to install because of all the cuts of the tiny tiny mosaic tiles. It such a beautiful tile for a backsplash or a contained area without a ton of angles, but as you can see the ceiling angles a lot, which just cost way more in labor.
- We didn’t put in a curb because, well, it looks more clean and modern to forego it, but yes it can leak out, which isn’t a big deal, but just something to link about.
The Good News:
I can sit in there for hours and hours. I love the steam feature (except I have lash extensions so I SHOULD wear goggles which feels, well, totally odd) and the square overhead panel—Kohler’s “Real Rain” feature—really does feel like soft warm rain. I sit in the back, on that slab bench, like a sauna, and put on the steam and the real rain overhead and it feels like I’m in my own spa. I’m looking forward to winter for this exact reason.
And yes, you can control everything on the inside of the shower as well, don’t worry.
It’s truly, truly, truly the best bathroom I’ve ever been in, quite possibly because it’s mine and it was designed with so much love, with so many pretty materials that I love individually and together it feels like a simple, bright, clean and fresh home spa.
Any questions??? I need to get a proper bathmat (I think a dark gray as it is more seamless with the floor, and don’t worry I have since bought a reclaimed tub-tray from Ross Alan for me to rest my wine, I mean soup, on as well as my copy of House Beautiful, of course.
Here are all my lovely resources and partners we used to pull this together.
Finishes, Windows & Doors:
Pure White by Sherwin-Williams | White Oak Contemporary Windows by Marvin | Beechwood Tongue and Groove Ceiling Cladding by Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber | Reclaimed Beechwood Door by Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber | Vanity Backsplash Tile by Clé Tile | Shower Herringbone Tile by Artistic Tile | Volakas Marble Slab Countertops from Bedrosians Tile & Stone
Bath Fixtures by Kohler:
Wall-Mount Faucet | Sink | Freestanding Tub | Floor Mount Bath Filler | DTV+ Digital Interface | DTV+ Steam Adapter Kit | DTV+ Eco System Controller Module | Shower SoundTile | Real Rain Overhead Panel | Real Rain Trim | Showerhead | WaterTile Round Bodyspray | Handshower | Toilet Paper Holder | Robe Hook | 24″ Towel Bar | Towel Ring | Toilet
Door Hardware by Rejuvenation | Cabinet Knobs by Waredesignworks | Drawer Pulls by Waredesignworks | Antique Bronze Light Switches by Forbes & Lomax | Slate Flooring by Clé Tile | nVent NUHEAT radiant heating
Furniture & Decor:
Mirror | 60″ Vanity by Kohler | Vanity Roll-Out Storage by Kohler | Vanity Makeup Storage by Kohler | Window Treatments by Hunter Douglas through Decorview | Leaning Ladder by Katy Skelton | Sheepskin Rug by Article | Vintage Black Wood Side Table (not available) | Art by Addie Juell | Towels from Target | Robe by Parachute | Marble Vanity Tray by CB2 | Black Ceramic Lidded Jar by Ferm Living
Thanks again to my design team Julie Rose and Velinda Hellen for all your lovely help and talent, and to Emily Bowser who helped pull together the styling for the shoot.
***Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
Check out the rest of The Mountain House reveals here: The Kitchen | The Kitchen Organization | The Kitchen Appliances | The Powder Bath | The Living Room | The Downstairs Guest Suite | The Loft | The Kids’ Room | The Upstairs Guest Bath | The Dining Room | The Family Room | The Master Bedroom